Lucas pinning hopes on away goal
Liverpool midfielder Lucas Leiva is hoping Daniel Agger's early goal in their 2-1 Europa League quarter-final first-leg defeat at Benfica could yet prove decisive.
The Denmark defender opened the scoring at the Estadio da Luz but the Reds went down to two second-half penalties, both converted by Oscar Cardozo, after Ryan Babel was dismissed on the half-hour for thrusting a hand in Luisao's face.
"We are really disappointed," Lucas said. "We started really well the game, scored an early goal. We created some chances even with 10 men. Now we have to keep going and try to go through in Anfield. The away goal always is important, we knew that. We'll try to score one goal at Anfield and go to the semi-finals. We worked really hard. It's always difficult to play with one less player but I think we showed character and quality."
The Liverpool team appeared far from impressed by the display of Swedish referee Jonas Eriksson, not only for his decision to send off Babel but also for letting several hefty challenges on Fernando Torres go unpunished.
Centre-back Luisao took exception to a tackle by Babel and subsequently hacked right through the back of Torres, who had already been on the end of some severe punishment. A melee ensued in which Luisao continued his protest at Babel and the Dutchman responded by pushing the Brazilian in the face.
On the red card, Lucas said: "The referee just said it was 'hands to face' - something like that. To be honest, we don't want to talk about the referee. I think everyone saw the game and you can analyse better than us. We'll just keep going now. We have an important game in the Premier League and then we'll try to go through to the semi-finals."
He added: "For both penalties, the linesman told the referee it was a penalty. We can't argue now. The game is gone."